Monday, January 30, 2017

Shaver's Female dummy makes her mark on male-dominated crash tests

Here is another example of why representative sampling MUST include women. For years and years, car crash test dummies for adults were all based upon the 50th percentile male. As such, even in vehicles with high safety ratings, women still has higher rates of certain injuries (head, neck, pelvis) than men. In fact, the article cites research that found that belted female car occupants in accidents have a 47% higher chance of suffering a serious injury and a 71% higher chance of suffering a moderate injury compared to men in a car.

I wrote a previous blog post about this video that outlines how using only male rats for pharmaceutical research lead to problems with disproportionately high numbers of side effects in female humans. And this NPR story details changes to federal rules in order to correct for this issue with animal testing.

How to use in class:

-Inappropriate sampling is hurting and killing women.
-Many test dummies are constructed using descriptive statistics as to create an "average" human. The most often used dummy represents a 50th percentile male.
-Pair it with my articles/stories/videos about the lack of female representation in pharmaceutical testing and you've got yourself a nice class discussion about representative sampling and subtle but dangerous forms of sexism (Why is a average male considered an average human? How can this problem be addressed?).